The Vancouver Giants have released their roster for the 2021 bubble season.
The roster is solid and should allow the Giants to compete for the BC Division crown this season. Here are five storylines to watch out for as the Giants get set to open the season on March 26th.
Are you ready to meet the 2020-21 Vancouver Giants?
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) March 19, 2021
5) Can the rookies step up?
The Giants are bringing seven rookies to the bubble including first-round pick Mazden Leslie. Leslie is an offensively gifted defenceman that the Giants hope can replicate the same success Bowen Byram has had the last few seasons. One other name to watch is Drew Sim. The third-round pick from 2018 will backup expected starter Trent Miner this season. Sim is the goalie of the future for this franchise and will get an opportunity this season to show the organization he can compete in the WHL. Other rookies like Marko Stacha, Nicco Camazzola, and Julian Cull will be key players as the Giants will rely on the young guns to produce this season. If these rookies can take strides, the Giants will be considered contenders during the shortened season.
The Vancouver Giants are thrilled to announce that they've signed defenceman Mazden Leslie to a @TheWHL Standard Player Agreement. He was the 10th overall pick in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft.
Details 📎: https://t.co/rlJZqDwCaK
Welcome to Vancouver Mazden! pic.twitter.com/H1ztA2DPbQ
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) April 30, 2020
4) Replacing Bowen Byram:
Replacing one of the best defensemen ever to wear a Giants jersey will be difficult. The Giants are going to have to find a way to make up the 52 points he put up last season. Vancouver hopes that players like Marko Stacha, Mazden Leslie, and Alex Kannok Leipert will be able to step up and produce offensively. Stacha and Leslie are both rookies but have high-end offensive skills that could benefit the team’s powerplay. Kannok Leipert on the other hand is the team’s captain and will be relied upon big time to produce offensively and in his own zone.
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) December 19, 2019
There is no one player that is going to replace Byram on this team this season. That is why the team needs to come together and play like a solid unit. If the rookies can step up, along with returnees like Connor Horning, Tanner Brown, and Jacob Gendron, the Giants could have one of the best defensive groups in the WHL.
3) Secondary scoring:
Every team needs secondary scoring to be successful, and the Giants are no different.
We know that players like Justin Sourdif, Tristen Nielsen, and Eric Florchuk are going to lead this team in offense, but what about the rest of the forward group? There are a couple of players that could be set for big breakout years. Justin Lies, Zack Ostapchuck, and Kayden Chabot are all players that should be able to help provide that secondary scoring option. All three have the tools to produce offensively this season. The Giants are an incredibly fast and skilled team so secondary scoring should not be an issue. Expect a lot of offense to come from the middle six this coming season.
— Stephen Hawco (@stephenhawco7) January 12, 2020
2) One of the best tandems in the division:
Trent Miner and Drew Sim have the potential to be not only one of the best tandems in the division but in the league. Miner is coming off a successful stint in the AHL while Sim could develop into a star. Expect Miner to get somewhere between 18 and 20 games this season with Sim coming in mostly on back-to-backs. One thing that is going to help these goalies is that the Giants can control play very well. This team can transition the puck well and take away scoring chances in the defensive zone. Last year, the Giants had the lowest goals per game allowed in the division. Expect their goaltending duo to steal some games and be in the awards race at the end of the season.
Goaltender Trent Miner has been reassigned to the Giants from the AHL’s Colorado Eagles, welcome back Trent! pic.twitter.com/QHp04bP6cl
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) March 8, 2021
1) Bubble life:
The ultimate question this season is how will teams react to playing in the bubble. With no fans, family, or billets close by, the players will need to ensure their mental health becomes a priority. In the past, the players had billets or family physically there for them if they had a bad game. Unfortunately, that is not an option this year. The Giants need to come together as a team to help each other through difficult times. With technology so prevalent in our lives, communicating with loved ones is easy but reaching out can be the hard part. This team needs to come together and build that family atmosphere in order to have success this season.
Some hockey ASMR for your Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/2pGuxRuorV
— Vancouver Giants (@WHLGiants) March 19, 2021
The BC Division is tough but the Giants have built an extremely solid team that can compete against anyone. Every game is going to be a grind but do not be surprised if the Giants come out on top. This is a team that is capable of putting up 18 wins this season. Although no fans will be at the games, the Giants will have a lot of support coming from the Lower Mainland as they look to become the bubble kings of the BC Division.